While in recent years police brutality has received the majority of media attention, there is a far more deadly poison running through the veins of our nation’s criminal justice system. This poison is the full discriminatory power minorities fall victim to in every stage of their prosecution. This poison has led to the mass incarceration of minorities and the creation of a well-disguised form of racial control. Today, over 2 million minorities are under the control of the prison system and as such will forever be tainted by their most outstanding label, criminal (Alexander). When these American citizens are denied the basic human right of a fair and unbiased trial their lives are forever changed:
Assurance in equal justice remains as an overwhelming political principle of American culture. Yet withstanding unbelief exists among numerous racial and ethnic minorities. Their doubt comes as no surprise, given a past filled with differential treatment in the arrangement of criminal equity, an issue particularly clear in police misconduct. Researchers have investigated police responses to racial and ethnic minorities for quite some time, offering sufficient confirmation of minority burden on account of police. These examinations raise doubt about different police techniques of coercive control, maybe none more so than police brutality. Its use exemplifies the pressures between police and minorities that exist in America today.
In her book, The New Jim Crow Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander who was a civil rights lawyer and legal scholar, reveals many of America’s harsh truths regarding race within the criminal justice system. Though the Jim Crow laws have long been abolished, a new form has surfaced, a contemporary system of racial control through mass incarceration. In this book, mass incarceration not only refers to the criminal justice system, but also a bigger picture, which controls criminals both in and out of prison through laws, rules, policies and customs. The New Jim Crow that Alexander speaks of has redesigned the racial caste system, by putting millions of mainly blacks, as well as Hispanics and some whites, behind bars
In the introduction, Michelle Alexander (2010) introduces herself and expresses her passion about the topic of how the criminal justice system accomplishes racial hierarchy here in the United States.
It is an existing theory that our society is constructed via racial dimensions, and that racial equality is a figment of the imagination. This very principle is highlighted in Michelle Alexander’s novel, “The New Jim Crow.” The specific dimensions covered within the text include the unjust aspects of the federal drug policy, and by connection that of mass incarceration as well. Alexander claims that racism is still very prominent in present day society and is direct and frank about the heavy influence of white supremacy.
The author found that more people of color, especially black males are under the control our criminal justice system than were enslaved in 1850. The author supports the pervious idea by using specific examples such as the “War on Drugs” to show people of color are targeted more by law enforcement officers and scrutinize harsher by our courts for drug laws but the drug usage is used at the same rate by blacks and whites. With the help of mass-media, the “crack” epidemic in inner cities, the War on Drugs policies, the “Get tough on crime” policies, and the propaganda about people of color all have influenced the way mainstream society thinks about blacks. The author found that mainstream society believes that black people commits more crime and uses more drugs than white people, so therefore blacks deserved to incarcerated. However, Michelle Alexander disproves in “The New Jim Crow” that blacks commit more crimes than whites, the drug usage rates are the same between both races, propaganda has influenced the way mainstream society views blacks and that the “War on Drugs” and the “Get Tough on Crime” was policies targeted towards inner cities and people of color with the intent to enslave them in the criminal justice system by giving them felonies in which people of color are disenfranchise by society. The author calls this a “Racial Caste System” because it discriminates like it never has before, since it allows anyone who is labeled a “felon” to be legally discriminated against with housing, education, employment and voting rights. Since many more people of color are made felons than white by mass incarceration, racial discrimination is a powerful as it was under slavery or under the post-slavery era of Jim Crow
In the eyes of Martin Luther King Jr., Justice within a society is achieved through the implementation of just laws. Furthermore, “just laws are regulations that have been created by man that follow the laws of God for man” (“Clergymen’s Letter”). Any law that does not correspond with the ideals of God and morality are considered to be unjust or a form of injustice. King identifies that injustice is clearly evident within the justice system. This injustice can truly be seen through the misconduct imposed toward the African American community. Michelle Alexander, similarly, points out the same truth that African American men are targeted substantially by the criminal justice system due to the long history leading to racial bias and mass incarceration within her text “The New Jim Crow”. Both Martin Luther King Jr.’s and Michelle Alexander’s text exhibit the brutality and social injustice that the African American community experiences, which ultimately expedites the mass incarceration of African American men, reflecting the current flawed prison system in the U.S.
In the article, The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander, she explores a subject that most people ignore; that is a racial caste system exists in America. Specifically, she asserts that mass incarceration is a new racial caste system which provides context for the political, social and economic problems, represents the New Jim Crow. In post Jim Crow society, Alexander empathizes, we have adopted to the colorblind perspective, which states that race is not being justified for discrimination or social contempt. Instead of relying on race, we use our criminal justice system to label colored people as criminals. Once we labeled them as criminals, all forms of discrimination will be legal against people of color. Alexander mentions that the fire of a racial caste system is still burning, we have not put it out. Specifically, our criminal justice
Alexander addresses mass incarceration through compelling and historical analysis of African Americans. This correlates to the concept of social justice and the One World Initiative theme- Global Perspective on happiness because in the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially acceptable to use race as a justification for discrimination, segregation, and social hatred. Yet, as Michelle Alexander reveals, today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans during the Jim Crow era. This does not symbolize the global perspective on happiness in any way shape or form. Happiness is contentment, satisfaction, cheerfulness, joy, well-being.
We live in a society where ethnic minorities are target for every minimal action and/or crimes, which is a cause to be sentenced up to 50 years in jail. African Americans and Latinos are the ethnic minorities with highest policing crimes. In chapter two of Michelle Alexander’s book, The Lockdown, we are exposed to the different “crimes” that affects African American and Latino minorities. The criminal justice system is a topic discussed in this chapter that argues the inequality that people of color as well as other Americans are exposed to not knowing their rights. Incarceration rates, unreasonable suspicions, and pre-texts used by officers are things that play a huge role in encountering the criminal justice system, which affects the way
To begin with, our class material and content ranged from pervasive novels and excerpts to compelling documentaries and talks. Consequently, many class assignments left students grappling with the issues of mass incarceration and experiences with race. I insist that, due to this exposure, my most important learning was being challenged to keep my mind open to and critically thinking about situations and perspectives that I had not been aware of or experienced.
In her book, Are Prisons Obsolete? Davis dedicates an entire chapter connecting the system of slavery to the current prison system. In order to understand how prisoners are a product of racial ideologies, one must understand that racism is not just an “unfortunate aberration of the past” (Davis 24), but rather it continues to “profoundly influence contemporary structures, attitudes, and behaviors” (Davis 24). When the 13th Amendment was passed, it abolished slavery and Blacks were no longer legal property. However, it did not get rid of the idea that Black people should be harshly governed. Today, Black people are subjected to a criminal justice system where race plays a central role in constructing presumptions of criminality (Davis 28).
With few exceptions, the “criminal” has never been viewed as a noble person. Instead they are viewed as someone, or if they are dehumanized enough then something, that has committed a wrong against society. Being convicted or even accused of a crime can have a negative impact on a person. A mere accusation can damage their reputation, and enter them into police information systems, while a conviction may also disqualify them from jobs, government programs, and even voting. These consequences make association with crime undesirable, both because of their power and reach. The stigma of criminal creates the power for the government to marginalize undesirable groups. This stigma allows laws to be passed that make otherwise outrageous practices
There are challenging disparities racially when it comes to criminal justice, or justice of any kind. It’s a pervasive notion: in American society justice is blind, fairly administered and equal to all. The problem is that justice does not seem to reach to all people, especially when it is people of color. In a society that is apparently known for fairness and acted as a new start as our founding ideals. In modern day, justice for all is not justice at all. In the judiciary system specifically, ‘justice’ does not live up to the promise of ‘encompassing all people’.